Maria-Theresien-Strasse in Innsbruck's old town was laid out in the course of the city's expansion in the 13th century and is now one of the six most important shopping streets in Austria.
The wide Maria-Theresien-Straße is one of our top 10 sights in the old town of Innsbruck. It leads from the Triumphpforte to the former city moat in the direction of the Goldenes Dachl. Innsbruck's Maria-Theresien-Straße is not only the busiest street in the city, but also one of the six most important shopping streets in Austria.
PICTURES: Maria Theresien Street in Innsbruck
Places of interest on Innsbruck's Maria Theresa Street
Today's promenade was laid out in the course of the city's expansion in the 13th century. At that time part of the Neustadt, it has been named after Empress Maria Theresa since 1873. The imperial street is lined with magnificent baroque facades, which together with modern shops, cafés and restaurants form an attractive mix of old and new.
From Anichstraße onwards, Maria-Theresien-Straße is a pedestrian zone and is used for public events, marches and rallies. Events such as the Christkindlmarkt in the Advent season or public viewing at major cultural and sporting events attract even more visitors on top of the 30,000 daily.
After about 500 metres, Maria-Theresien-Straße joins Herzog-Friedrich-Straße, which leads directly to the Goldenes Dachl.
The Triumphpforte is located at the southern end of Maria-Theresien-Straße. The southern gate of the former city wall is now an ideal starting point for sightseeing in Innsbruck's old town.
The stone portal was built in 1765 by order of Empress Maria Theresa in honour of the wedding of Archduke Leopold to Maria Ludovica. The image and figure decoration in Sterzing marble was designed by Johann Baptist Hagenauer, who also created the Marian column in front of Salzburg Cathedral and some sculptures at the Gloriette in Schönbrunn Palace Park in Vienna.
Goal between triumph and sorrow
However, the marriage of the second son of Empress Maria Theresa and the Princess of Spain on 5 August 1965 was overshadowed by tragedy. Less than two weeks later, on 17 August 1965, Franz Stephan of Lorraine, Maria Theresa's husband and father of the groom, died completely unexpectedly of a stroke.
Maria Theresa had his death chamber at the Hofburg in Innsbruck converted into a chapel where the nuns of the Hofburg could pray for the deceased emperor.
Accordingly, the design of the triumphal gate was also adapted to love and death in the Habsburg Empire. The south side of the triumphal gate depicts motifs in honour of the bridal couple, while the marble reliefs on the north side focus on the sudden death of the emperor.
The portrait medallions on both sides show Empress Maria Theresa and her husband Franz Stephan with laurel wreaths, the young wedding couple Leopold and Maria Ludovica and the ducal couple Karl and Karoline of Lorraine, relatives of the Emperor.
With the Austrian Archduke's hat with the Order of the Golden Fleece and the Bohemian Wenceslas Crown with the Hungarian Order of St Stephen, important status symbols of the Habsburgs are also represented on the triumphal gate.
The Servite Church of St. Joseph with attached monastery was donated by the widow of Archduke Ferdinand, founded in 1616 and built 10 years later. After the Second World War, the church was rebuilt and still houses the Servite Order today.
Palais Lodron (No. 7)
When a fire caused devastating damage among the wooden houses in 1620, the government ordered stone houses, which heralded the birth of the magnificent palaces on Maria-Theresien-Straße. The rococo palace of Count Lodron from 1749 is the first one you pass after the Triumphpforte.
Inn Alt-Innsprugg (No. 16)
Dating from the 15th century, the house was rebuilt in 1906 and is worth seeing for the wood carvings on its façade. Among other things, copies of two statues from the Court Church can be seen on it.
New City Hall and City Hall Galleries (No. 18)
The New Town Hall is housed in three baroque buildings of the former Palais Künigl. They were built in the early 18th century by Gumpp and once housed Innsbruck's first hotel.
In 2002, a generous extension was made with a modern glass complex, which offers space not only for the city administration but also for a congress hotel and the shopping arcade "Rathausgalerien". From its lift tower, a viewing platform, as well as the hotel's roof garden, offers a magnificent panoramic view of Innsbruck's old town.
Trapp Palace (No. 38)
The Palais Trapp dates back to the 17th century and was built from 1700 onwards by Johann Martin Gumpp the Elder, whose family of master builders designed a large proportion of the region's magnificent buildings at the time. The palace is still owned by Count Trapp today.
Palais Troyer-Spaur (No. 39)
Together with the Palais Fugger-Taxis, the Palais Troyer-Spaur, built around 1680, was one of the first magnificent buildings erected by Johann Martin Gumpp the Elder on Maria-Theresien-Straße.
The Anna Column, visible from afar, was erected in 1706 to celebrate the withdrawal of the Bavarian troops, which happened in 1703 on 26 July, Anna's Day. Crowned by the Virgin Mary, her mother Anna is also represented in the north of the column as a marble figure.
The other three saints on the Anna column are St. Cassian to the west, St. Vigilius to the east and St. George to the south, unmistakably with dragon and lance.
Once, the Joseph and Joachim fountains also splashed at the foot of the magnificent red marble column. The latter can be seen today in Waltherpark on the other bank of the Inn.
Old Country House (No. 43)
The Alte Landhaus by Georg Anton Gumpp is considered one of the most magnificent baroque buildings in Innsbruck and houses the Tyrolean Parliament in its magnificent rooms.
Monumental grand staircases, stucco and marble decorated halls, carved doors and masterful wall and ceiling frescoes make the Old Country House also worth a visit from the inside. Incidentally, the originals of the statues of saints from the base of the Anna Column, which were replaced by copies in 2009, can be seen here.
Palais Fugger Taxis (No. 45)
Built for Count Fugger by Johann Martin Gumpp the Elder around 1680, the Baroque palace complex functioned as a post office building under Count Thurn und Taxis from 1784 to 1905, before being acquired by the province of Tyrol.
The hospital church is still a reminder of the Heilig-Geist-Spital, which was founded in 1315. As was customary at the time, the hospital was built outside the city walls, which at that time ran roughly at the level of the Old Country House. The present building was erected in 1700 by Johann Martin Gumpp the Elder.